The NY Times looks at the "cat and mouse game" between the graffiti artists and the police. There are a couple factions: Those who fly under the radar to tag illegally, the taggers who go "legit" and take commercial commissions, and the police who try to stop the illegal taggers. The Mayor upped the ante by forming the anti-graffiti crime unit (the Mayor's Anti-Graffiti Task Force) earlier this year, and one graffiti writer, Ray (tag: PRIZ), told the Times, "When the 'goon squad' first started cracking down, a lot of people went out there with the attitude, 'We're going to get over tonight.' So of course, they got caught." The police are keeping tabs on graffiti websites, even as the taggers "map out targets and plot escape routes...go out exclusively at night, favoring rooftops and boarded-up buildings that aren't likely to be painted over quickly, if at all." While the NYPD says it's one of the most expansive anti-graffiti programs in the country, we doubt graffiti (or street art, for that matter) can be held down, as it's a natural response to life that's been around for thousands of years. For any mayor to successfully rid a city of graffiti, the city would need to be burned down. Anyway, ee can sense City Councilman Peter Vallone's office immediately issuing a press release that's picked up by the Daily News where he blasts the Times for giving the taggers coverage!
Here's the NY Times slideshow of graffiti photographs. @149th is And we interview Carlos "Mare 139" Rodriguez earlier. One tagger arrested by the police in March asked for copies of the NYPD photographs of his work. And some have said legal graffiti is like the Special Olympics - "Everyone gets a prize, and there are no rules," but corporations, like Time Inc. and Hummer, are looking to graffiti for some stret cred.
Photograph by Jake Dobkin